AAAS and EducationCounsel to Update Legal-Policy Guidance to Advance Campus Diversity Efforts

Originally posted at on March 27, 2019.
While the legal landscape has become increasingly challenging, advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM remains doable if you do it right,” said Jamie Lewis Keith, Partner at EducationCounsel. “We are enormously grateful to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for enabling AAAS and EducationCounsel to partner on this critical work to equip higher education institutions and their policy and legal leaders with guidance, strategies and practical tools they need to stay strongly committed. A team-oriented focus on what can be done—and how to do it effectively, but wisely—will help institutions meet new and developing challenges successfully.
Read the Full Article.


Leading science, education, and medical organizations announce new initiative: Societies Consortium on Sexual Harassment in STEMM

February 15, 2019 | By Jamie Lewis Keith, Partner
A recent 2018 consensus study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine titled, Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (Academies Report), reported that sexual and gender harassment remain widespread and prevalent, and have negative outcomes for women, as well as others (albeit at lesser rates):

Greater than 50 percent of women faculty and 20-50 percent of women students encounter or experience sexually harassing conduct in academic science, engineering, and medicine (Academies Report 65) and women with multiple societal identities targeted for bias experience harassment at even greater rates (p. 44-46).

Recognizing sexual harassment as a barrier to excellence, the newly launched Societies Consortium on Sexual Harassment in STEMM is a collective act of leadership and accountability—53 societies strong and counting—to advance inclusion and success of all talent in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medical (STEMM) fields. Collective efforts on this scale don’t happen often (the full press release can be read here).
By bringing together academic and professional societies of every size and […]


Lawyers on Race-Conscious Admissions: ‘This is Doable. But Also, Do it Right.’

January 31, 2019 |
By Nell Gluckman
If part of the intent of the recent affirmative-action lawsuits brought against universities was to send a chill through admissions offices, it doesn’t seem to be working. Most of the discussion at a conference here this week on race and admissions was about how to do a better job bringing underrepresented minority students to campuses, not about whether it can be done at all.
“We do have to be creative about solutions on equity,” said Stella M. Flores, an associate dean and associate professor at New York University.
Read the full article at


Taking a Holistic Look at Higher Ed Admissions

December 13, 2018
Art Coleman

I’m very pleased to share that the College Board’s Access and Diversity Collaborative today released “Understanding Holistic Review in Higher Education Admissions: Guiding Principles and Model Illustrations.” The guide provides insights into the logic, rigor, and fairness behind effective holistic review–a practice that is under attack in a growing number of court and agency actions. My co-author and EducationCounsel colleague Jamie Lewis Keith and I hope that we’ve helped open the “black box” of admissions decision-making, with an overview of the key features and elements of well-designed holistic review policy and practice. We include institutional examples and promising models that illustrate effective and sustainable practices. We also argue for more transparency on these issues. Over time, our challenges are not only in the courts of law, where we’ve won more than we’ve lost. We’ve got to do a better job in the court of public opinion–explaining the compelling case of what admissions officials do, and why, every day. #diversity #affirmativeaction #admissions


OPINION: Is this the way to transform struggling rural schools?

Originally posted May 24, 2018 at The Hechinger Report.
When students understand what and why they are learning
While serving as U.S. Secretary of Education in the 1990s and early 2000s, and previously as Governor of South Carolina for eight years, I saw the devastating impact of under-funded and under-resourced rural schools, especially in high-poverty communities.
Unfortunately, at least for some children in the South, those conditions haven’t changed much.
That’s one of the reasons a different approach to teaching and learning caught my attention several years ago. My visit to New Tech High School in Napa County, California, during the 2008-09 academic year was the start of an important journey for me that eventually would have an impact on students in my home state and beyond.
Read the full post at The Hechinger Report.


Are we EQUIPped to spend billions on (yet) unproven programs?

April 17, 2018
Nathan Arnold
In the 1940s, Russia developed a prototype of a new military advancement called the Antonov A-40. It was an ambitious, seemingly innovative leap forward that would provide battlefield support and overwhelming, agile deployment. It was also, quite literally, a flying tank. For reasons that seem obvious in retrospect—weight and inefficient transportation chief among them—it was not functional in practice and thankfully never produced at wide scale. However, the lessons learned regarding its design ultimately provided beneficial advances to future military developments.
Federal lawmakers would be wise to heed the lesson that all ideas—particularly those with billions of dollars at stake—should not be rushed into wide-scale production. Many of them seem eager to open the $130 billion per year of taxpayer funding to new ways of providing higher education instruction without any assurance that these programs provide quality outcomes to their students. It’s still too early to tell if these innovative models will turn out to be the Antonov A-40 or the (significantly more effective) Chinook helicopter of higher education, but it’s not hard to see the potential […]


Using ESSA to Improve School Climate and Social and Emotional Development

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which passed in December 2015, laid the groundwork for two significant shifts in education reform in that it (1) shifted significant authority and responsibility for designing key education systems from the federal level to states and districts; and (2) prioritized college and career ready outcomes for all students – allowing for a broader focus than the strictly academic nature of its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) – and required that all systems be aligned toward those outcomes.


Colleges must protect free speech, but not when students feel unsafe

The new academic year is now well upon us with the return of hundreds of thousands of students to college this fall. And it’s a time unlike any in recent memory. The nation’s political divide is stark and conspicuous on campuses across the country where protests centering on issues of race, religion and free speech are rampant.


The Magic of College and Career Ready Approaches for Greater Equity, and 20 Ways to Advance Them through ESSA

Does the state set a clear “North Star” of the full array of college and career ready knowledge and skills through rigorous standards, goals, and high quality assessments? Does the state have multiple accountability measures, data reporting, and deeper diagnostic review processes that surface fuller college and career ready knowledge and skills, informed by things like performance assessments and portfolios across many subject areas, school climate measures, and accelerated coursework? Do the state’s school improvement strategies and direct student services priorities foster, for each and every student, the full range of college and career readiness and opportunities for them to direct and personalize their own learning?